SEC-Cebu warns public vs. investment scam using cryptocurrencies

SEC-Cebu warns public vs. investment scam using cryptocurrencies

CEBU CITY – The Securities and Exchange Commission–Cebu Extension Office (SEC-CEO) on Sunday warned the Cebuanos against illegal investment schemes using cryptocurrencies and foreign exchange trading using online platform but are not registered with the government.

Lawyer Alma Marie Estrada-Dalena, SEC-CEO officer in charge, said the commission has noticed a rise in investment scam cases even during the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

Apart from the traditional Ponzi and pyramiding schemes, Dalena said there are entities that have diversified into other illegal schemes such as cryptocurrencies and forex trading using the social media and internet platform to entice investors.

“People should think twice before making any investment, especially if an entity is offering unreasonably high returns. We want to inform the investing public that the SEC registration does not authorize an entity to solicit investments,” she said.

The SEC registration only grants juridical personality, “but a secondary license is required if they want to engage in investment taking,” she added.

Dalena said the Securities Regulation Code (SRC) requires that the offer or sale of securities be duly registered with the commission and the entity as well as its agents who offer securities for sale must also be licensed to engage in such business.

The SEC-CEO chief said that from January to October this year, they identified over 200 fraudulent individuals or entities and have released advisories about the matter on their official website.

The Commission was able to post over 200 advisories regarding fraudulent groups in 2020, as of writing. However, it has only identified over 100 groups since other advisories pertain to the same entity.

Accordingly, there is a 400 percent increase of fraudulent entities this year as compared to 2019.

The 400% increase is only based on the number of advisories about fraudulent entities posted on the website, but the official count for the number of fraudulent entities identified for 2020, as of writing, is over 100.

In line with SEC’s 84th anniversary, Dalena said they are celebrating the Investor Protection Week pursuant to Proclamation No. 846 issued by President Rodrigo Duterte on Nov. 15, 2019. She said they aim to educate would-be investors against entities that are taking advantage of the pandemic.

“We are inviting the public to join us in our month-long activities for Investor Protection Week. They may email us at seccebu@sec.gov.ph to register to any of the webinars organized by our office,” she said, adding that prospective investors may also visit the Facebook page at facebook.com/PhilippineSEC for additional updates.

Also, victims of investment scam may also report their case to epd@sec.gov.ph or seccebu@sec.gov.ph.

Dalena also urged Cebuanos to access the full list of fraudulent entities identified by the Commission on the advisories page of its official website, which they may access via link: https://sec.gov.ph/investors-education-and-information/advisories/. (PNA)

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